Category Archives: Health

The four most important things in life

Niaveli, Sri Lanka

Dear reader.  Please sit down, relax and take a deep breath…

Now, ask yourself the question of questions:

What are the most important things in life?

Think about that for a moment and then start reading. Your life might never be the same…

We all move through life differently

Some prefer to do as little as possible, others live at full speed.

What all of us have in common though, is that we spend our time on something. Have you ever thought about how you spend your time and why?

Ask yourself these two fundamental questions:

  • What are the 3 things you spend most of your time on?
  • What are the main reasons why you spend your time in this way?

We don’t know where we’re going

The reason the above questions are so valuable is that moving doesn’t mean we’re going in the right direction.

Ask yourself the following questions to see if you too find some truth in this:

  • Do you know what you want in life and if yes, what do you want?
  • Do you sometimes feel you don’t have time to do what you really want to?
  • Do you sometimes do things not because you want to but because of others’ expectations or to fit in?
  • Have you ever gone through a mid-life crisis or know someone who has?
  • Have you ever continued a relationship with someone even though it wasn’t good for you?
  • Have you ever spent lots of time working, exercising, or doing something else that you later realised wasn’t all that important?

We can’t always know what’s right for us. But do remember; moving doesn’t mean we’re going in the right direction.

Even though we can never know for sure what the right direction is, it’s helpful to spend time thinking about our direction, trying to understand ourselves and what we want out of this life of ours.

Perhaps we should even dear asking ourselves the question of questions:

What are the most important things in life?

The four most important things in life are….

tree

This tree in Namibia could certainly be the tree of life. It’s about 10 meters wide!

Below I’ll outline the things I believe are the most important in life for almost every human being alive. Yes, we’re all different, but just as we all need air and water there are certain other things we all need too.

The way I define “life” is pretty simple:

“Life is the ability and time we have to interact with, and experience the world”. Check out this post for more on the matter.

The underlying assumption my life-view is based on is:

“Living a great life means interacting with the world in a way that gives us meaning and positive emotions without causing harm.”

With that in mind; here’s my model of the four most important things in life:

fourmostimportantthings

As you can see from the model above I believe “health”, “relationships”, “positive self-view” and “purpuse, values and dreams” are the four most important things in life.

Take care of your health

“Health is life. Care for it as you would care for your newborn child.”

Poor health will both reduce the time you have in this world and your capability to live the life you want to live. Therefore, if we want to live for a long time with a mind and body that can take us where we want, we must take care of our health.

I’m not saying life can’t be good if we’re sick, disabled or have other health challenges. I’m saying that people would like to feel capable of living the way they value and to live for a long time. Health, consequently, is absolutely fundamental.

Unfortunately, most of us only realize the importance of health when it’s gone. That’s a great shame. The good thing is that we’re capable of influencing our health and it’s easier than most people think.

Check out this link for a model that describes the key drivers of health and what to do to become healthy.

Invest in your relationships

“Spend quality time with the people you love and the relationships will grow stronger. Don’t, and they’ll slowly fade away.”

rels2My friend Ivi and I taking care of our friendship at a party!

When talking about life we’re used to hearing ourselves and others say that the most important thing in life is family and friends. It’s hard to disagree and the evidence supporting this is overwhelming. What’s not as well understood is how to invest in our relationships to make them flourish and grow.

The above is likely one of the reasons why we see so many people divorce, why the time we spend with our friends steadily declines as we age and why many of us spend more time in-front of the TV or computer than we spend with our kids.

Personally, I don’t think these things happen because we want them to. I think they happen because we don’t allow ourselves the time to reflect on what really matters and consequently we’re not fully aware of the impact small choices we make in our day-to-day lives have on our relationships. In order to have good relationships I believe we need to both spend a considerable amount of time with the people we love and be really present during that time.

Check out this post to read about the key skill you need to build great relationships in life.

Install a positive view of yourself

“How we view ourselves is the foundation on which our life is built.”

When we don’t have a positive self-view we typically compare ourselves with other people, feel insecure about ourselves and are too sensitive to the opinion of others. We also tend to make choices based on other people’s expectations rather than do what truly feels right for us.

Having a positive self-view on the other hand means accepting ourselves for who we are and what we believe in. It means having the courage necessary to make our own decisions and to live life the way that’s right for us.

I realized not long ago that I’ve lived most of my life without having a strong enough self-view. Only during the last few years have I been able to understand and accept myself to the degree where I very rarely feel “below” anyone or feel afraid to say things I believe because of other people’s judgment. I still have improvement areas however, especially with regards to dealing better with negative feedback and rejection.

How you think is one of the key factors that influence the view we have of ourselves. Learn about the four components of thinking and how to think effectively here.

bjarte self-view

Your hair might be long, even red so-help-me-god. Who cares? Be yourself.

Live your purpose, values and dreams

“Reflecting on what kind of person you want to be and what you want out of life will increase your understanding of yourself. Living according to this understanding will give you a sense of purpose, fulfilment and peace.”

Being healthy, having great relationships and a positive self-view is wonderful. But who’s the “you” in you? What makes you different to everyone else?

Let’s talk about purpose, values and dreams.

Your life-purpose

Your life-purpose is a clearly stated, high level description, of what you want to do with your life.

Understanding your purpose is a journey that requires time and reflection. I feel I’ve only understood my own life-purpose reasonably well for a few years and for all I know my life-purpose might change in the future. Here’s my current purpose:

The purpose of my life is to feel good, be good and do good.

Why are you here on Earth? What’s your purpose?

Your values

Values are the thoughts and behaviours that define how you want to be as a person.

The following analogy is a good way to understand values:

Picture yourself being in a boat. You’re sailing at night and the sea is rough. Unfortunately for you, the weather is horrible and you don’t know if you’re steering the boat in the right direction. Suddenly you see a lighthouse straight ahead! You quickly steer the other way and get yourself, the boat and your crew out of danger.

lighthouse

Values can act as lighthouses or guiding stars like the Northern Star. Values help you become aware of when your thoughts and behaviours aren’t alligned with the  kind of person you want to be, just as a lighthouse make you aware of where to sail. Consequently, values can help you make better decisions in life.

Here are four values I love:

  • Love
  • Live
  • Learn
  • Inspire

It’s important that your values are closely aligned with your life-purpose. As for your life-purpose, understanding what your values are is a journey that requires time and reflection.

What are the words that define how you want to think and behave?

Your dreams

Dreams are things you want to experience in life.

Want to travel the world? Want to become a world-class teacher? Want to make the world a place where every creature is treated with respect? I know I do.

Dream a little every day. Think about what you’d like to do, see, think, feel and so on. Don’t let your current as-is situation define what you dear hoping for.

Dreams exist to be pursued! Many dreams do come true and the more positive your self-view is the easier it will be for you to achieve your dreams. Read about how to discover your dreams here.

sunset namibia

Spitzkoppe in Namibia is a place where dreams are born

The four most important things in life are highly interdependent

Health. Relationships. Self-view. Purpose, values & dreams.

All of these influence one another. For example, how healthy you are affects the energy and time you have available to spend on the other three.

Your self-view affects your mental health, how you interact with people and to what degree you “allow” yourself to live your purpose, values & dreams and so forth.

Improvement in any one of these areas will consequently not only have an impact in that area, but the other areas as well.

Are you ready to go beyond knowing what’s important in life?

If so it’s time to for action. Perhaps you want to start by improving your health through eating the right foods? That’s where I’d begin living the four most important things in life.

Bjarte

I’ve borrowed the lighthouse picture from here. Thank you.

My friends & family’s 2-week eating experiment stories: Increased quality of life, weight-loss, and a sustainable way of eating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the previous post I summarized the result my family & friends had after carrying out the two-week eating experiment (increased quality of life, weight-loss, and a sustainable way of eating). In this post I’ll share the details of what all nine of them said about the experiment and I’ll share some pictures so that you can see who my beloved family & friends are. I have decided to share all this private information, with the acceptance of my friends & family of course, so that you can get a real look into what’s likely to happen to you if you undertake the experiment. Let’s get right to it!

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Results: A two-week eating experiment that significantly improves quality of life, leads to weight-loss, and is sustainable long-term

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the previous posts I’ve outlined the two-week eating experiment. In order to motivate you to try out the experiment I thought it would be a good idea to share the experiment stories & results of my dearest family members & friends with you. I have personally monitored the progress of every individual written about in this post throughout their two-week experiments and beyond and it’s been an exciting journey. For some of them the experiment was a walk in the park. For others it was hard. Some have had incredible results, others didn’t complete the experiment. Want to read about the people closest to me in my life and what they experienced when changing their diet?

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Executive summary of the 2-week eating experiment

bjarte-7871With this post I aim to provide the key points about the 2-week eating experiment here without going into any detail at all. I recommend reading this post regardless of whether or not you’ve already read the whole series. Additionally, I recommend using this post as a tool to help you throughout the experiment. You can also print this summary and show it to people in your life who are wondering what you’re up to but who might now have the dedication and interest needed to read the whole experiment series.

Do however note that this post is not meant to replace the series. Only by reading the whole 4-step series will you gain the knowledge necessary to successfully complete the experiment and set yourself in the driving seat of your health.

With that in mind, let’s check out the executive summary!

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The 2-week eating experiment – Step #4 of 4: It’s done and I love it. What’s next? Optimize of course!

When you’ve carried out the 2-week experiment you will have experienced and felt some of the effects excellent eating provides. At this point you’re likely motivated to continue your journey towards healthy eating. This section will provide four recommendations for how you can continue to improve how you feel, look and perform through how you eat:

 

  1. Try different foods and pay close attention to how you feel
  2. Start eating super-foods to boost your health, and how you feel, look, and perform even more
  3. Use the 80/20 rule to healthy eating
  4. Supplement with vitamin D3 and omega-3 if you don’t get much sun or eat fatty fish

First, however, you need to re-evaluate how you feel to see how much of an improvement you’ve already made and to subsequently decide on what next steps to take.

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The 2-week eating experiment – Step #3 of 4: How to successfully carry out the experiment

In step 3 of the 2-week experiment we will outline how to successfully carry out the experiment. This post consists of two parts:

  1. Prepare for the experiment: Set a starting date, team up, get rid of crappy foods, get inspired and go shopping!
  2. Carry out the experiment: Bring your own food, use coconut oil, take it a little easy, stress less and sleep more

In case you haven’t already read the other posts in this series do check out the links below:

Now, let’s look at how to make the experiment a certain success!

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The 2-week eating experiment – Step #2 of 4: What and how to eat during the experiment and how to avoid possible adverse effects

 

In step 1 on this series I outlined how to evaluate how you’re currently doing. If you haven’t already read this post I advise you to do so before reading this one.

In this step of the 2-week eating experiment series we will address the following three exciting topics:

  1. What to eat & drink during the experiment
  2. How much to eat and what good eating habits are
  3. Possible adverse effects from changing how you eat and how to avoid these

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The 2-week eating experiment – Step #1 of 4: Evaluate how you’re currently doing

Welcome to step 1 of the 2-week eating experiment. This post is of massive importance. For reasons not known to me self-evaluation is continuously being ignored by a large part of the health community in their efforts to help people achieve optimal health. That’s a mistake and here’s why:  In order to be confident about the impact any experiment has on anything we need to first know how the subject we’re experimenting with was performing before the start of the experiment. Consequently, this post is about evaluating how you’re currently doing.

In order to make this step nice and smooth the evaluation will only consist of four categories:

  • Your daily energy & performance levels
  • Your daily emotions
  • The quality of your sleep
  • The quality of your digestion

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Introduction to the 2-week eating experiment: Why you should do it and its process

The 2-week eating experiment series include the most important information you’ll ever need to know about how to eat healthy, excellent, and delicious food that will enable you to pursue your dream of feeling, looking, and performing better than ever before. Through other posts we have already addressed why we don’t know what to eat and why it’s so hard for us to change. This series will address these issues head on. By the time you’ve read these four posts you will know:

  • Which foods to eat and which to avoid
  • What good eating habits are
  • The many positive effects of eating differently and how to avoid initial hurdles
  • How to trick/motivate yourself into changing how you eat in a way that doesn’t have to been difficult or time-consuming (hint: that’s the whole point of the 2-week eating experiment)
  • How to evaluate your progress from eating like a champion
  • How to continue self-experimenting to identify what foods are optimal for you

Fasten your seatbelts; it’s self-experimentation time!

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Why it’s so hard for us to change our diets and what to do about it

We have all felt it and we all dislike it; that annoyingly negative, instinctual feeling that immediately appears when it’s suggested we should stop doing what we’re doing and do something else instead. In particular, this is true for situations where the way we eat is being challenged. “You want me to stop eating pasta, eliminate sugar from my diet, and worst of all, to start eating vegetables? I’ll tell you one thing mister nutrition expert: That’s NEVER going to happen!”.

Why do we feel this way and what can we do about it?

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Why carbs make many of us fat and sick

In previous two posts I have written about why we don’t know what to eat and that fat isn’t dangerous as long as we avoid certain types of it. When you’ve read this post you’ll know the facts about carbohydrates. Knowing all this you’re armed with the knowledge that will inspire you to undertake the exciting 2-week eating experiment. How to ensure that this 2-week experiment is a great success is the focus of next week’s post. Something to look forward to!

First however, we need to focus on 1) what carbs and macronutrients are, 2) why carbs make many of us fat and sick, and 3) what foods contain carbs.

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Why we don’t know what to eat and what to do about it

We all have some idea of what we should and shouldn’t be eating. We all try, or have tried at some point, to eat healthy. However, how confident are we answering the question “why do I believe what I eat is what I should be eating?” The fact of the matter is that most of what we “know” just isn’t true at all. Are we all just dumb or is there a reason for our lack of food knowledge?

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